The ultimate guide to GPU scaling: what it is and how to use it.

If you’ve been fiddling with the settings on your graphics card, you might be wondering what GPU scaling is all about. What does AMD GPU scaling entail? Nvidia GPU scaling is a term that refers to the scaling of graphics cards by Nvidia. GPU scaling is a graphics feature that allows you to modify the aspect ratio of your games to fit the resolution of your monitor. It’s especially beneficial if you wish to play a game with a native aspect ratio that differs from your monitor’s.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about GPU scaling in this article, including whether or not you need it and how to activate and disable it.


What is GPU scaling?


GPU scaling is a functionality that both Nvidia and AMD GPUs have. It’s especially useful in older games that were made with 4:3 displays in mind or without ultrawide compatibility.

The majority of the finest gaming displays have a 16:9 aspect ratio, although older games don’t. When utilizing emulators or simply playing an old game, you’ll notice that most of them have a different aspect ratio and were designed for a different screen resolution.

Such older games typically appear awful without GPU scaling. The games are frequently stretched to match the screen’s native aspect ratio, and the ultimate effect is usually terrible. When GPU scaling is active, the technology attempts to correct this and restore the visual quality of your games.

Instead of pushing the game to suit your monitor, GPU scaling generally just preserves the game’s original aspect ratio and creates a border around it. However, there are two more options that get around the difficulty in distinct ways, which we’ll go over in greater detail below.


GPU scaling modes


GPU scaling is available from both Nvidia and AMD, allowing you to tailor your experience to your preferences. Let’s take a brief look at them.


GPU scaling on AMD


AMD consumers can choose from the following GPU options:

Maintain aspect ratio:

This setting keeps the game’s aspect ratio the same as it was designed to be played, so a 5:4 game will stay that way. A black backdrop will be used to cover the empty spaces on your monitor.

Scale image to full panel size:

This choice will extend the image to fit your screen, resulting in it being stretched out of its original aspect ratio. In most cases, this option will result in poor graphics.

Use centred trimmings:

The final AMD option is to center the game or image at its native aspect ratio. The remaining areas of your screen will be covered with black bars or a pattern.


GPU scaling on Nvidia cards

If you have an Nvidia graphics card, you have the option of scaling your GPU in one of the following ways:

Aspect ratio:

This, like AMD, will merely maintain the game’s native aspect ratio. Black bars will be added to the empty area on your screen.


This option forces the game to match the aspect ratio of your display. If your display supports 16:9, for example, a 5:4 game will be converted to 16:9. Unfortunately, the final outcome is often disappointing.

No scale:

As the name says, this option disables GPU scaling, allowing games to render without interruption.


Unfortunately, although GPU scaling makes vintage gaming more fun, it also adds a small amount of input latency.

This implies that enabling GPU scaling will not boost your frame rate. In fact, it’s probable that your frame rate will be reduced significantly.

GPU scaling makes your graphics card work harder to produce each image and frame, which will reduce your frame rate somewhat.

The good news is that if you’re playing old games, your frame rate should be high enough that you won’t notice. If you have one of the higher-end graphics cards, your hardware is likely strong enough to handle GPU scaling without issue.

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